Bruce J. Avolio and Rebecca J. Reichard
Leadership is not defined by the exercise of power but by the capacity to increase the sense of power among those led. The most essential work of the leader is to create more leaders.
Mary Parker Follett
Time magazine recently chose an unusual person for Person of the Year. You! On the cover of the magazine, there is a mirror suggesting that "you" are looking at the Person of the Year chosen by Time. Why? As we have entered the age of digital democracy, each of "you" is an essential element in how communities, governments, schools, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations function. What implications might this have for the Great Man theory of leadership?
Over the last hundred years, the scientific study of leadership has been heavily influenced by a Western way of thinking or philosophy. As a result, leadership research has emphasized the individual, especially the leader, typically to the exclusion of followers and the context in which leaders and followers interact. Perhaps, as a result, the majority of traditional leadership theories have primarily focused on characteristics of the leader, such as traits, behaviors, and styles, that make the leader more or less effective. The follower has typically been included as an afterthought in most traditional leadership theories. Where the follower has been included, it is usually in terms of what the leader is "doing to" the follower, not ...